A big Ay-Whoop-de-doo: SEC newcomers party in the A-T-L

Say howdy to the Missouri mascot, Truman the Tiger. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Say howdy to the Missouri mascot. His name is Truman the Tiger. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Kevin Sumlin, who coaches football for Texas A&M, entered the lobby of the JW Marriott and was swamped by humanity. “This is like walking into a bowl game,” Sumlin told Billy Kennedy, who coaches basketball at A&M. “Or the Final Four.”

Actually, the festivities Wednesday night in Buckhead were just that — festivities. The schools joining the SEC decided to throw a little party in the city where the league stages its football championship and, as is the case with anything involving SEC football, there turned out to be nothing little about it.

“They’re amazed,” Georgia president Michael Adams said, speaking of the delegations from A&M and Missouri and their reaction to the size of the throng. “I’m amazed.”

Estimates put the crowd at nearly 1,000 folks, most of them backers of A&M and Mizzou. (Speaking of which: A staple Missouri cheer goes “M-I-Z,” to which the proper response is “Z-O-U.” And the traditional Aggie greeting is, “Howdy!” There’ll be a quiz later.)

“What a turnout,” said SEC commissioner Mike Slive, who has seen a crowd or two.

Said Gary Pinkel, Missouri’s coach: “[Joining the SEC] is huge for our fans. It’s been good for ticket sales, and it’s been very, very good for recruiting. … Recruiting in the SEC has been nothing but positive for us. Everyone believes the SEC plays the best football, and to high school kids there’s no question who’s the best.”

Missouri’s first SEC game will come Sept. 8, when it plays Georgia in Columbia. A&M gets its SEC christening that same day against Florida in College Station. “Two pretty big names right off the bat,” said Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity, who has worked both in Athens and Gainesville.

And it’s not as if the Bulldogs and Gators are in the habit of visiting either place. This will be new — and potentially frazzling — for everybody concerned. But what’s life without variety? Without risk?

Said Sumlin: “Unless you’ve been [to College Station], it’s hard to understand. ESPN named it the No. 1 gameday experience, and those folks go a lot of places. I’ve been in both locker rooms, and I know what Kyle Field means.”

Pinkel on the Georgia game: “Our place will be pretty cramped.”

For the record, 2012 won’t mark the first rodeo for either Mizzou or A&M. They’re exiting the Big 12, which was itself a fusion of the Big 8 and the Southwest Conference. But in contemporary college football, there are essentially only two brands — the SEC and everybody else.

Pinkel again: “This league is like the NFL — every week you’ve got to play well.”

How the newbies will fare among the upper crust remains to be seen, but it’s clear from the enthusiasm expressed Wednesday that both sets of fans are thrilled to have rich new neighbors. Otherwise they wouldn’t have held an open house in a different time zone.

But it was nice for those of us who’ve been around the SEC for a while now. This correspondent was given his first taste of the Aggie Way, which is to be confused with no other. After Sumlin and Kennedy greeted their constituents in a packed meeting room, the floor was yielded to two Aggie yell leaders, who, not entirely surprisingly, led a yell. But the composition thereof left these ears in search of translation.

An obliging yell leader provided one. Said Drew Nelson: “That one goes, ‘Farmers, fight! Farmers, fight! Farmers, farmers, fight, fight!’ And then, ‘Ay-WHOOP!’”

That’s “Ay-WHOOP!” — not to be confused with “Pig, Sooey!” — and it’s accentuated by clasping one’s hands, extending and twining the index fingers and throwing  those hands and fingers over one shoulder.

Said Nelson: “You’ll be hearing, ‘Ay-WHOOP!’ a lot.”

Sumlin, who performed the hand gesture like a champ, has been hearing about nothing except his new league. Flying back from the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day, he and his family changed planes at Hartsfield-Jackson. “My son had on an Aggie hat, and some people recognized me. For 20 minutes they followed us through the airport saying, ‘Welcome to the SEC, coach.’ That was pretty cool.”

Welcome to the Aggies. Welcome to M-I-Z, and to Z-O-U, too. A big Ay-WHOOP to one and all.

By Mark Bradley

102 comments Add your comment

xxxldawg

June 6th, 2012
8:52 pm

Welcome to the show…

T-Bone

June 6th, 2012
9:23 pm

If first gets Kudos, then second should get an “Ay-Whoop!”

Jamaaliver

June 6th, 2012
9:51 pm

Just wait til Syracuse joins the ACC!! It’s gonna be a PAR-TA….ah nobody cares. :(

MattMD

June 6th, 2012
10:01 pm

Oh wow, a whole 1,000 people! Howdy? Mizzou?

What a bunch of lames.

Outstanding expansion job on getting some Big-12 outcasts. Jesus.

Paul in NH

June 6th, 2012
10:27 pm

I find it ironic that the Wind Power Conference is taking place in Atlanta at the same time that the A&M and Missouri coaches are expounding on the wonders of the SEC. Perhaps they bumped into some attendees.

http://conferencehound.com/conference/awea-american-wind-energy-association-wind-power-conference-2012/56252

Ryan

June 6th, 2012
10:58 pm

Sec worst academically. LOL

[...] before the Tigers and Aggies open their first football schedules as members of the conference.A big Ay-Whoop-de-doo: Mizzou and A&M party in the ATLAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Texas A&M Football: South Carolina, Not Mizzou, Improves [...]

sports

June 6th, 2012
11:06 pm

When is the ACC going to Division 2???

[...] before the Tigers and Aggies open their first football schedules as members of the conference.A big Ay-Whoop-de-doo: Mizzou and A&M party in the ATLAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Texas A&M Football: South Carolina, Not Mizzou, Improves [...]

ToccoaDawg

June 6th, 2012
11:36 pm

Welcome to the SEC. Dear Lord, Prepare them for the butt whuppin they are about to receive.

wxwax

June 7th, 2012
12:09 am

Dad was an Aggie. I think he would be enjoying this, if he were still around.

I’m sure it will take A&M some time to load-up on SEC talent, but the school cares about its football, so they’re a good addition to the conference.

KJ

June 7th, 2012
12:11 am

“Sec worst academically. LOL”

I’d be willing to bet you couldn’t get into at least half the SEC schools.

Jack Dennis TN

June 7th, 2012
12:44 am

Welcome fellers. Now button your chin straps.

JacketFanMarcus

June 7th, 2012
12:46 am

@ Paul in NH: You must be a SEC fan/alum. You have no sense of direction or scale, buddy!

Just for your education, Atlanta is a very big city.

The SEC event was in Buckhead. The Windpower Conference was downtown at the World Congress Center. Very unlikely they would either group would “bump” into each other.

You know, Atlanta is not New Hampshire.

Courtney J.

June 7th, 2012
12:56 am

Welcome to the show Texas. Why, however, are we accepting Missouri? Missouri is not considered a southern state.

Courtney J.

June 7th, 2012
12:58 am

Sorry! I forgot to put the A & M after Texas!

DW Cole

June 7th, 2012
1:14 am

Mizzou will be a solid SEC team and surprise a few people. And for the comments about Mizzou not being Southern….Here are Mizzou’s historical southern ties: One of the stars on the Confederate flag is for Missouri (voted to secede; Union troops invaded and set up a Union Government). The 8 counties around Columbia (where Mizzou is located) are called “Little Dixie”. The county next to Columbia has never has officially re- joined the “Union” after the Civil War and is proudly called the “Kingdom of Callaway”. “Dixie” was Mizzou’s unofficial fight song (along with confederate flags waved at the football games when Mizzou scored) until the late 1950’s; this changed when Mizzou became integrated and Mizzou’s coach at the time (the legendary Dan Devine) started recruiting African Americans and he requested that Dixie not played and Confederate flags not be waved…also Mizzou had not played Iowa in football since 1904 (until the our Bowl game in 2010); all had to do with Iowa having an integrated squad and Mizzou walking off the field. Mizzou’s oldest rival “was” Kansas (the second longest college football series in the country) and the hatred goes back to the Civil War era… Kansas fans yell “slavers” and hold up signs depicting Mizzou as slave owners. Even the mascot name “Tigers” come from the name of the militia group that protected Columbia from marauding bands of Union “Jayhawkers-Red Leggers” who were killing, raping and pillaging western and central Missouri towns (i.e. see the movie Law Josey Wales). The Kansas football team wears red stockings only one game a year: for the Mizzou game (guess the red socks are now retired). We welcome SEC fans with open arms to Columbia; Mizzou has been was picked as the best game day/tailgating school in the Big 12 by several polls/groups. Columbia is consummate college town (as noted last fall in Southern Living). MIZ-SEC!!!

[...] A big Ay-Whoop-de-doo: Mizzou and A&M party in the ATLAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)(Photo by M. Bradley) Kevin Sumlin, who coaches football for Texas A&M, entered the lobby of the JW Marriott and was swamped by humanity. “This is like walking into a bowl game,” Sumlin told Billy Kennedy, who coaches basketball at A&M.SEC stages welcoming party for Missouri, Texas A&MSI.comTexas A&M Football: South Carolina, Not Mizzou, Improves Aggie National BrandBleacher ReportHowdy: Texas A&M, Missouri formally welcomed to SECOpelika Auburn NewsSB Nationall 88 news articles » [...]

Paul in NH

June 7th, 2012
1:29 am

JacketFanMarcus
Thanks for the information “buddy”. I am very familiar with the geography of Atlanta. Pity you didn’t understand the allusion to “wind” when talking about the SEC. You are obviously the kind of pompous, humorless idiot I had to teach when I was getting my PhD from GT.

Jefferson Davis Hogg

June 7th, 2012
1:40 am

@ DW Cole….Awesome post and very accurate…..and also remember Redlegs very well from the movie…..I personally have always considered Mizzu a southern state that fits in very well with the rest……Also, If people would research, they also are a very good academic school which by the law of averages will upgrade the overall appearance of the SEC conference considering the standards of schools such as Alabama and SC

[...] before the Tigers and Aggies open their first football schedules as members of the conference.A big Ay-Whoop-de-doo: Mizzou and A&M party in the ATLAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Texas A&M Football: South Carolina, Not Mizzou, Improves [...]

Civil Unrest

June 7th, 2012
4:20 am

The Acc should focus on women’s field hockey.

GT4Life (the original)

June 7th, 2012
4:55 am

DW Cole surmises that “MIZ” belongs in the SEC by lauding its racist past (or present maybe)…welcome to the SEC indeed!

Buckeye

June 7th, 2012
6:55 am

Ryan,

My kid who graduated from Vandy would disagree.

Delbert D.

June 7th, 2012
7:03 am

I don’t think anyone has a problem with Vandy.

Delbert D.

June 7th, 2012
7:16 am

“Missouri is not a southern state.” I doesn’t matter, since TV signals travel 186,000 miles per second (slightly less through cable and distribution systems.) ESPN and CBS aren’t paying schools pallets of cash to put fans in stadium seats. With large screens and HDTV, the viewing experience is excellent. It’s not 1962, when folks got 2 games on Saturday on their 19″ black and white set.

Across the wide Missouri

June 7th, 2012
7:47 am

It will be quite enjoyable to see Missouri’s student-athletes put an azz-whupping on Mark Wretched’s thugs and woman-beaters.

:-)

Beast from the East

June 7th, 2012
7:48 am

Welcome to the SEC!

dean

June 7th, 2012
7:59 am

Learn where the Mason Dixon line runs folks. Some of you sure are an ignorant lot!
those A&M cheers are pretty pitifull!

Shug

June 7th, 2012
8:05 am

Will these SEC cheerleaders in the media please stop slapping each other on the back for the SEC supposedly being such a great conference. I have no doubt that Missouri and Tex A&M fans have been to big cities, seen swanky hotel lobbies, and heard crowds cheering.

Wrecker

June 7th, 2012
8:10 am

I understand that the SEC has some great teams, but it also has Kentucky, Ole MIss, Miss. State, Vanderbilt, and lately, Tennessee and Florida. That is 6 out of 14 teams that I would consider mediocre in most conferences. Throw in 2-3 cupcakes a year and most of the top SEC teams have 5-6 built-in wins per year, just like the top teams in most conferences.

Don’t get me wrong, the top 4-5 of the SEC every year are outstanding, but that does not mak the remaining teams great, or even good.

Paddy

June 7th, 2012
8:20 am

MattMD…….Texas A&M is a Big 12 outcast? It is quite evident you have never attended a game at College Station. An experience that holds one of the top thrill factors in sports. If you don’t know about college football don’t post!!!!!!!!!!!

Old School

June 7th, 2012
8:27 am

MattMD gets the bitter cynic award of the day.

Andy

June 7th, 2012
8:44 am

Thanks for the laugh this morning Mark.

Chi Town

June 7th, 2012
8:53 am

Lord Saban will welcome them both.

Soon….

Chi Town

June 7th, 2012
8:53 am

Enter your comments here

[...] A big Ay-Whoop-de-doo: Mizzou and A&M party in the ATLAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)(Photo by M. Bradley) Kevin Sumlin, who coaches football for Texas A&M, entered the lobby of the JW Marriott and was swamped by humanity. “This is like walking into a bowl game,” Sumlin told Billy Kennedy, who coaches basketball at A&M.SEC Football Morning Coffee: Georgia Picked to Win BCS National ChampionshipBleacher ReportSEC welcomes Mizzou, Texas A&MSTLtoday.comHowdy: Texas A&M, Missouri formally welcomed to SECOpelika Auburn NewsSB Nation -SB Nation Kansas City -SB Nation Atlantaall 100 news articles » [...]

zgoldatl

June 7th, 2012
9:01 am

If we go strictly by the Mason Dixon line, then Maryland would be Southern Dean. They fought for the union during the War for Southern Independence. Missouri fought for the South, so they are Southern enough for me.
If Heaven ain’t a lot like Dixie, I don’t want to go

Paddy

June 7th, 2012
9:09 am

zgoldatl!…….if that is true, we need to sack those yankees from UK! No wonder those liberal weenies don’t win, too much Cincinnati Chile and white wine up there in yankee land!!!

Joey

June 7th, 2012
9:12 am

You mean Maryland actually fought? I thought they laid down their arms when Lee and his boys saddled up.

Just send me to hell or NYC, It’d be about the same to me

Buckeye

June 7th, 2012
9:32 am

The SEC!SEC! is a women’s gymnastics conference.

Dumb Dawg fans

June 7th, 2012
9:39 am

“The SEC!SEC! is a women’s gymnastics conference.”

No, just UGA. Women’s sports is all UGA has anymore. They can’t compete in baseball, basketball or even football even though their fans claim a national championship every year.

The only difference between UGA fans and Bama fans is Bama fans have something to be proud of. Well, except for the whole tree poisoning and tea bagging part.

Mizzou

June 7th, 2012
9:41 am

Zgoldatl – Marylanders fought on both sides of the Civil War.

Dean – thanks for the history lesson.

SECers – Settle down. Outlaw Josey Wales is about a Missouri farmer turned Confederate bushwhacker.

zgoldatl

June 7th, 2012
9:47 am

Yeah MD fought on both sides (so did people in a lot of states), but there isn’t a star on the saint Andrews cross (Confederate battle flag) for Maryland. The government was union. But Joey is correct, they mostly just ran scared from General Lee.

Love NYC? Take 95 North and don’t come back

Sid

June 7th, 2012
9:52 am

JacketFanMarcus June 7th, 2012 12:46 am
@ Paul in NH: You must be a SEC fan/alum. You have no sense of direction or scale, buddy!
*****************************************************

JacketFanMarcus – I may be wrong but I think Paul was going for tongue-in-cheek humor.

Rocketman

June 7th, 2012
9:54 am

Welcome to the SEC!!! What two great schools to add to our conference!

KJ ... your comments .... SEC .... worst academically. You're wrong!

June 7th, 2012
10:04 am

Actually, you’re wrong. See link: http://www.aau.edu/

4 out of 61 of US’ Leading Pub/Priv. universities are SEC schools.

AAU MEMBERSHIP
The Association of American Universities (AAU) is an association of 61 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada.

Membership in AAU is by invitation and is based on the high quality of programs of academic research and scholarship and undergraduate, graduate, and professional education in a number of fields, as well as general recognition that a university is outstanding by reason of the excellence of its research and education programs. Information about AAU membership is available here.

A membership committee of AAU presidents and chancellors periodically reviews universities for AAU membership; institutions recommended for membership must be approved by a three-fourths vote of the membership.

These are the most prestigious institutions in US.

MEMBER INSTITUTIONS AND YEARS OF ADMISSION
Brandeis University (1985)
Brown University (1933)
California Institute of Technology (1934)
Carnegie Mellon University (1982)
Case Western Reserve University (1969)
Columbia University (1900)
Cornell University (1900)
Duke University (1938)
Emory University (1995)
Georgia Institute of Technology (2010)
Harvard University (1900)
Indiana University (1909)
Iowa State University (1958)
The Johns Hopkins University (1900)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1934)
McGill University (1926)
Michigan State University (1964)
New York University (1950)
Northwestern University (1917)
The Ohio State University (1916)
The Pennsylvania State University (1958)
Princeton University (1900)
Purdue University (1958)
Rice University (1985)
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (1989)
Stanford University (1900)
Stony Brook University-State University of New York (2001)

>>>>> SEC **** Texas A&M University (2001) ****

Tulane University (1958)
The University of Arizona (1985)
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (1989)
University of California, Berkeley (1900)
University of California, Davis (1996)
University of California, Irvine (1996)
University of California, Los Angeles (1974)
University of California, San Diego (1982)
University of California, Santa Barbara (1995)
The University of Chicago (1900)
University of Colorado at Boulder (1966)

>>>>> SEC **** University of Florida (1985) ****

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1908)
The University of Iowa (1909)
The University of Kansas (1909)
University of Maryland, College Park (1969)
University of Michigan (1900)
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (1908)

>>>>> SEC **** University of Missouri-Columbia (1908)****

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1922)
University of Oregon (1969)
University of Pennsylvania (1900)
University of Pittsburgh (1974)
University of Rochester (1941)
University of Southern California (1969)
The University of Texas at Austin (1929)
University of Toronto (1926)
University of Virginia (1904)
University of Washington (1950)
The University of Wisconsin-Madison (1900)

>>>>> SEC **** Vanderbilt University (1950)*****

Washington University in St. Louis (1923)
Yale University (1900)

Shug

June 7th, 2012
10:06 am

Lest we forget, Missouri’s most famous alum was Skip Carey. (I would say Josey Wales, but his educational background was not addressed in the movie.)

Wrecker

June 7th, 2012
10:08 am

2 AAU schools before Mizzou and aTm. Do you think they were added for their academics?

Saints=Dung

June 7th, 2012
10:09 am

Across the wide Missouri June 7th, 2012 7:47 am
It will be quite enjoyable to see Missouri’s student-athletes put an azz-whupping on Mark Wretched’s thugs and woman-beaters.
*******************************************************
Same old trolls who think they are oh so clever. I think I know who you are but won’t give you the satisfaction of publishing your handle. Your attempt at a double entendre
with Richts name is barely nursery school mentality. Across the wide Missouri……you’re talking about the MO womens butts for sure.